Most reality TV shows have completely outlandish premises with even more outlandish stars. Whether they’re caught up in love triangles or legal troubles, the behind-the-scenes details of some of TV’s most popular reality fare never fails to be shocking and controversial.
However, these shows aren’t popular for their stars’ naughty behavior alone, though there’s no end to the bombshells dropping on camera. Sometimes it’s the moments that must have been approved by a cabal of producers and showrunners that really take the cake.
We’ve come to expect a certain level of outrageousness whenever reality TV shows are concerned, and yet these series are constantly topping themselves. Reality TV fans are often finding themselves arguing over their favorite star’s ethics– a truth that hasn’t been lost on producers who quickly capitalize on the controversy to turn a profit.
Surely execs know that these moments will only stoke the fire before they ever air, and yet they found their way onto our screens and (onto the internet) forever.
From table flipping to redneck games to the loyalty song, here are the 15 Times Reality TV Shows Went Way Too Far.
15. Kylie Jenner Danced On A Pole On KUWTK When She Was Only 9
As far as Keeping Up With the Kardashians goes, dancing on a pole is pretty tame. Yet, the Kardashian/Jenner clan found a way to make it extraordinarily controversial… by including a clip of baby sister Kylie dancing around on a pole in the very first episode of the very first season… when she was only 9-years-old.
That moment went on to become one of Kyle’s biggest regrets. Even ten years later, she publicly stated that that scene was extremely embarrassing and that there was huge backlash from viewers.
It’s sad and disturbing that Kylie’s parents would allow such a scene to air on television. However, it seems equally sad that a grade-schooler would endure ridicule and shaming over an action that she likely didn’t understand.
14. Teresa Giudice Flipped A Table On Real Housewives
It’s her party and she’ll wreck the place if she wants to. Now known as the table flip heard round the world, when Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice tried to get to the bottom of co-star Danielle Staub’s book, Cop Without a Badge, things got a little heated– and then they got a little nuts.
Giudice demanded to know what sorts of secrets were included in the book and just how many of them were actually true. Staub responded, but Giudice refused to take her at her word, insisting there was more to the story.
13. Kelly Hyland Slapped Abby Lee On Dance Moms
Stage moms are notorious for being overbearingly demanding, but their children aren’t always the target of their hard-to-please nature, as Dance Moms proved when Kelly Hyland struck her daughters’ coach, Abby Lee Miller.
When Miller suggested replacing Hyland’s daughters, Paige and Brooke, with other girls in a competition, Hyland became immediately upset. She began by screaming and arguing but things quickly became violent as Hyland took to hair-pulling and slapping.
A group of incredibly frightened children was quickly escorted out of the room (along with a large number of the adults who were present) so that they wouldn’t have to witness any more of the fight.
12. Rob Lowe Claimed To Have Seen Bigfoot In The Lowe Files
Did Rob Lowe really see Bigfoot while filming his cryptid hunting series The Lowe Files? Well, sort of. He certainly saw something and he totally wants you to tune in to find out. That’s pretty much how things went down before Lowe’s paranormal series debuted.
A lot of speculation was flown around over whether or not Lowe and his two sons, Matt and John Owen, had actually found Bigfoot during the course of the show. At one point, Lowe had very heavily implied that they had come across Sasquatch on their adventures and teased that the wood ape would be present in the season finale.
Lowe later cleared things up in the most cryptic manner possible, saying that he and his boys had gotten into some “pretty hairy stuff.” He neither confirmed nor denied any Bigfoot sightings.
11. Long Island Medium Channelled A Baby And A Dog
Some reality TV shows take things too far by being controversial or offensive, while others put their stars in actual physical danger. Then some are just plain weird.
Take, for example, that time Theresa Caputo channeled a dead baby on Long Island Medium. Or the time she channeled a dog– yes, both of these things happened.
While performing a reading, Caputo claimed to pick up on the soul of someone named Bobby, who just so happened to have been one of the viewer’s sons who died when he was just seven-months-old. This one at least has a somewhat heartwarming ending, as Caputo told Bobby’s mother that he wanted her to forgive herself for his death.
In another episode, Caputo was out at a park when she began to pick up on the spirit of a dead dog that belonged to a woman who just happened to be at the park that day. Caputo told her that it’s a good thing that the woman decided to adopt a new puppy, and that her dog and dead father were hanging around her home, which was causing the new puppy to bark at random.
10. Honey Boo Boo’s Redneck Games
The Honey Boo Boo family did not invent the Redneck Olympics. However, their participation in the games has become one of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo‘s most iconic (and bizarre) moments.
The Redneck Olympics featured classic sports such as loudest belch, mud belly-flopping, and bobbing for pig’s feet. It wasn’t just adults competing for top Redneck, s many the kids were able to get in on the action too– including Honey Boo Boo herself, who was only 7-years-old at the time.
The Honey Boo Boo family has participated in the games several times over the years, to varying degrees of success. Honey, herself, has been known to bring home a medal for her dance moves. The games are accompanied by a fair with less competitive (and less messy) attractions.
9. Betsy Came Out As A Witch On Breaking Amish: LA
Some practitioners of witchcraft believe it to be a psychological act, while others honestly believe in magic, but believe it to be a natural, spiritual affair. Then some are like Betsy on Breaking Amish: LA.
The series featured young Amish adults being thrown into big cities and navigating the world. Betsy was one of those young adults, but she had a dark secret.
When Betsy revealed to her roommates that she was a witch who had once slept with Satan (no, really) and then attempted to summon a demon inside the home, her roomies immediately began talking about kicking her to the curb.
8. Meri Brown Got Catfished On Sister Wives
Relationships between two people are tough enough, but when Meri Brown felt that her relationship with husband Kody was falling apart on Sister Wives, she took drastic measures to find some sort of solace and struck up a relationship with a man she met online. Except, not really– the man was a woman who was catfishing Brown.
Of course, the truth eventually got out, forcing Brown to confront her mistakes. Brown told her husband that the catfisher had been putting ideas in her head, forcing her to question her family and relationships.
Kody then placed Brown in therapy in an attempt to save their relationship. Kody and Meri did eventually divorce, but it was only so that Kody would have legal claim to fourth sister wife Robyn’s children by marrying her instead.
7. Esther Schumucker Moved In With An Abuser On Amish Mafia
Esther Schmucker was abused more than once by Imir Williams, which often resulted in serious injury. Williams served two months in prison following one of these violent encounters, but Schmucker ultimately ended up reconciling with her abusive boyfriend.
After moving back in with Williams, Schmucker was attacked again on Halloween night in 2014. This dangerous encounter resulted in Schmucker sustaining multiple injuries and another visit from the police.
Sadly, the police were not surprised to learn that Schmucker and Williams were back together. Reconciliation is an all-too-frequent occurrence in toxic relationships.
6. Ryan Edwards Fell Asleep While Driving On Teen Mom OG
The very premise of Teen Mom OG is controversial enough– a bunch of underage girls giving birth and rearing babies isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of family-friendly entertainment. Yet, it was one of the show’s male actors who really got into some hot water.
Ryan Edwards, fiancé to teen mom Mackenzie Standifer, fell asleep at the wheel with Standifer in the car. To make matters worse, he may have been under the influence at the time.
The episode was supposed to depict the pair’s wedding, as they had planned to elope and were on their way when the scene took place. Standifer could be seen attempting to rouse Edwards and taking the steering wheel in hand when he lost focus completely.
5. Bear Brown Punched A Fish To Death On Alaskan Bush People
The very existence of Alaskan Bush People is cause for controversy. The Browns, the family at the heart of the show, do not live entirely on the up-and-up. The Brown family has been through several legal battles over their insistence to live off of the land, where and how they want, regardless of the local law.
Part of that lifestyle involves fending for themselves, something that the Brown family is arguably very good at, despite their very particular set of skills.
Take, for example, their method of catching fish by hand… and then killing said fish also by hand, which was depicted when Bear Brown punched several fish in the head. Not only was this method controversial to many fans, but the Brown family themselves disagreed on whether or not it was the most humane way to kill a fish.
4. Kate Gosselin Forgot Her Son Collin Existed On Kate Plus 8
Kate Gosselin is often considered to be a brutal stage mom who treats her children with utter coldness– that infamous water bottle fiasco is a meme for a reason. Of course, we can’t really say what goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling, but things like this aren’t helping matters.
After son Collin was enrolled in a boarding school program designed to help troubled kids, the rest of the Gosselin clan hit the slopes on a family ski trip, all while being filmed for Kate Plus 8 of course.
Collin was not present for the family vacation, prompting fans to wonder just how bad the youngster really was and why he wasn’t allowed to join his siblings during the family get-together.
3. Josh Duggar Sang A Creepy Loyalty Song On 19 Kids And Counting
The Duggars were rocked hard by the revelation that Josh Duggar had been unfaithful on his wife, Anna, many, many times. He even turned to the seedy cheating website Ashley Madison in order to find more women to sleep with.
Things took a dark turn when it was revealed that Josh had also forced his siblings to be intimate with him. The entire thing is incredibly gross and is a far contrast from the sappy, loyalty-themed wedding that was portrayed on 19 Kids and Counting.
During the wedding ceremonies, Josh sang into a microphone about how he would do everything he could to be by her side. He promised to do his best, to always remain true, and to never stray.
2. Cake Boss Mocked A Transgender Model
Mocking transgender people is not cool under any circumstances. However, it takes a special sort of jerk to trick a transgender model into appearing on your show just so you can publicly humiliate them. This is exactly what happened on Cake Boss.
When Carmen Carrera agreed to appear on the show, she thought that she could spread healthy information about the transgender community and provide some much-needed representation.
Instead, producers cut back and forth between her flirting with Cousin Anthony and Buddy Valastro gleefully stating that Anthony had no idea what he was getting himself into.
Valastro eventually dropped the news of Carrera’s transition on Anthony, creating a spectacle out of Carrera. Following the episode, Carrera was very vocal in her anger, stating that she was led to believe that the episode would be handled with more tact.
1. Duck Dynasty Literally Jumped The Shark
Duck Dynasty has always been controversial– the cast has been accused of being offensive and racist. The show has also been blamed for portraying ignorance in a positive light. However, much of this controversy has happened behind-the-scenes through interviews.
As far as specific scenes go, there was only ever one candidate for Duck Dynasty‘s most bizarre: the time they literally jumped the shark. This, of course, refers to the infamous Happy Days scene in which the Fonz jumps over a shark while water skiing.
While on vacation in Hawaii, Jase Robertson attempted to convince his brother Willie to jump over a shark-themed pool toy into the water. Willie did exactly this. Given the show’s slip from grace, it seems a more apt metaphor has never existed.
Can you think of any other times that reality TV shows went way too far? Sound off in the comments!
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